- Politics and Social Issues
A Few Things That Irritate Me About Britain. (Part One...Maybe)
Comfort? Hey, that's for Posh and Becks!
Britain's Great...For a Visit!
Having lived back in my birth country for some 7 years, I woke up this morning and began to ponder on what really got on my nerves about the place - apart from the climate!
It's hard to compose a list from the top of your head; articles like this should be worked on slowly as the nuggets present themselves to the conscious mind, but anyhow, I shall try. As there is easily enough material for a book - if not a set - here, I will have to do this in parts.
Where to start? There is so much wrong here you wouldn't believe it, unless you are a fellow sufferer.
Well, let's start in the bathroom where I usually begin the day anyway, straining for a different sort of inspiration.
The shower. The British have never learned how to manufacture a proper shower like they do in the 'States. The stall is too small for my 250 pound self, and attempting amor in it is a dispiriting affair with her head jammed under the soap dish and my arse up against the cold shower curtain. There is not enough water pressure for some reason, because the mains are adequate, but the force doesn't come out of the shower head here, I know not why.
I gaze blearily into the mirror on the bathroom cabinet. I need a shave. I can't have one, because Nanny Britain doesn't - or didn’t - allow builders to install power points in the bathrooms in case its idiot citizens electrocute themselves while trying to shave or dry their hair...isn't that stupid!?
I leave in high dudgeon (a British trait) but miss the light switch three times because the switch is a pendulum, a long piece of string which is as elusive as a cockroach on the cheese. (Well, you think of an analogy, I'm busy!). I finally catch it, jerk it viciously, causing the little wooden toggle to strike me painfully on the ear as it rebounds. This, too, saves the citizen-dolts from becoming too positively charged from a normal light switch.
That about does the bathroom, except to mention that many houses here don't even have a shower! You have to lie in warm water, partially covered if you are my size, miserably contemplating a hair-covered, fleshy mountain, meanwhile washing your hair, your Johnson-and-two, your crack and underarms and then lying in the sudsy (etc!) effluent reading until you can summon the energy to escape. Horrid! To avoid all of the above and enjoy conditions the ordinary family has in North America (and most other civilized places these days) you have to be checked into a 5-star London hotel, or very wealthy...I expect Posh and Becks, or Brad and Angie when visiting, do a bit better.
The bedroom. What is it about the British that allows them to charge as much as a decent used car for a mattress well below international standards of comfort? How nostalgic I feel when I think of those mattresses on US hotel beds, practically everywhere, that are hard and soft at the same time, weigh about one ton each and are about 8 feet across. You cannot buy a new mattress here for less than $500 dollars that will give you anything like a decent night's sleep. They rave about a product called "Tempura" that involves setting up a second mortgage to purchase and is really only what the Mexicans call "Mattress foam," a sort of foam rubber which offers the ultimate in sleeping pleasure. Well, maybe: I have never been in the position to pay about $1500 or more to own one. I did buy one of the Mexican manufactured mattresses some years ago that cost me about $15: hard foam below glued onto a softer level above. It was fine. Probably it's what the Tempura mob buy there and jack the price up many hundreds of percent in RIB, (Rip Off Britain, the catch-phrase on everyone's lips here).
The rest of the house is OK, I guess, we have modern kitchens and double glazing, etc., these days and you can have the furniture you can afford: (Flat pack...that miserable crap!)
Speed Cameras. Have you ever heard anything so duplicitous and factually inaccurate as the government’s defence of these tiny tax-gatherers? They do absolutely zero for road safety at all! Because all the drivers stand on their brakes just before coming into the camera’s field of view, de-accelerating from 60, to 30, or 40, then immediately speeding up again as they exit the danger zone. So one and all obey the speed limit (as per the camera) for all of 50 yards! Of course, many are caught out, to the tune of probably a billion dollars a year in fines, so the government have defended them for some years, meanwhile installing them by the thousands, but their days are numbered now that no one is fooled any more, and they are gradually dying. They seem to be planning another gadget to install in cars at the point of manufacture that will actually fine and report us when we break the speed limit. Maybe a little Nipponese voice will say, “Banzai!! Naughty, naughty, your inboard computer has just assessed your penalty at one thousand pounds for doing 40 miles over the limit, talking on your cell phone, forgetting to put on your seatbelt, and throwing a marijuana doobie out of the window and trying to kill me with a screwdriver.” I kid you not, it’s coming and I for one will buy a horse! (Horse crap on street, penalty, 50 pounds!).
Meanwhile, we have the world’s most expensive petrol (gas), bar a couple of places in Europe like Lickyourstein, or Mynacker, where all the people are millionaires anyway and probably get extra money from our government to publish inflated fuel prices so our mob can say, “See! Britain is not the most expensive.” Believe me, motorists here are just about finding it cheaper to tip single malt whisky into their tanks in lieu of higher priced Arab-juice. And they are still adding more tax in April! Unbelievable.
The British don’t listen. They really don’t. They will be quite happy to force you into politely listening while they cackle on about some boring and inconsequential happening in their dull little lives, but as soon as you try to relate how you slept the night with Angelina Jolie, (you slept?), or spent a year in the Huntsville prison’s death cells, they gaze at each other and make “we have to go” noises. (One, they don’t believe you, two, they wanted the experience for themselves and are jealous, three, they could care less about you, your life or whether you live or die. It’s sad but true).
And a Brit. will never call you to come round and have a coffee with him or visit his house! Well, maybe once on a sunny day (like a blue moon here). The Englishman’s home is his castle and gawd knows what he gets up to in it in the little shower, on the lumpy mattress or two abreast in the tiny bath. Harrumph!!
Part two will follow if I get any interest in this morbid subject!
Oh, and, no, I don’t speak from affection and really love the crazy little island and all its faults...In your dreams!!!